MM: Can you briefly tell me about yourself?
CS: My name is Courage Shoniwa born in Murehwa in 1982. I’m the financial group director for Minerva Group Advisors and was also a Finance Director for the JA Company Program in 2000. I am part of the board for Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and a number of companies both in the private and non-private sector. The most notable ones are; trustee for Minerva Pension fund with a value of three million dollars. I am also a board member for Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and also the committee’s Chairman for Micro-hub Zimbabwe, Sodew Investments (MSU Subsidiary) Committee Chairman – Micro Hub Financial Services and also Midlands State University board to mention but just a few. So in a nutshell this is Courage Shoniwa.
MM: When and how did you get involved with Junior Achievement Zimbabwe?
CS: I got involved in the year 2000 about 18 years ago when l was doing my Advanced level at Harare High in Mbare. I was involved with the program for a year where we created our own company with colleagues Bernard Chidzero and Archie where l was the Finance Director. I attribute my achievements to those two. Initially we were running a mini shop where we were printing t-shirts for the students and doing event management where we hosted different artists.
MM: Given the high demands of A Level studies, what motivated you into participating in the JA Company Program?
CS: The urge to know more about running a business made me want to participate. I was majoring in business studies so l wanted to have the hands on experience of how it feels to actually run a company since what l had at that time was just theoretical.
MM: What has JAZ contributed in your career?
CS: JAZ has contributed a lot in my career because it created the foundation for me to build my career firstly it gave me the entrepreneurship spirit that is required for any person in the financial sector. It also gave me the confidence as part of the process we had to do presentations in front of audiences as well as bringing me a spring board into my career. One of my achievements is that l was voted the Young Director of the Year 2015 to 2016 by the Institutes of Directors of Zimbabwe. I actually attribute this to Junior Achievement of Zimbabwe because when l really started being a Finance Director in the program that’s when l really started studying how one can manage a company. It created a foundation for me to be the person l am today.
MM: What can you contribute to JA Zimbabwe as the youngest board member?
CS: I think l will bring fresh ideas as a young person who just turned 36 and is in touch with current trends. I am the bridging gap between the youth and the older generation so obviously l bring in new ideas especially to do with entrepreneurship. Besides being an entrepreneur l have a couple of companies that l run and founded. These include a Mercedes Benz garage called McCarthy Cosh Motors which l co-founded with my friends. I am also into farming in Marondera where I’m into maize farming and a piggery. I have also started a fishing project. This is a living testimony that as youth we can actually do something with our lives besides waiting for someone. I have started some new ventures in Gweru l now have a successful boarding house accommodating 35 students for Midlands State University.
MM: What encouragement would you like to give to the young stars of today concerning JAZ and their future and your final thoughts?
CS: I really urge the young stars not to give up on your dreams. There is a favorite saying that l always say “Reality happens twice in your mind and secondly for the rest of the world to see”. So never give up on your dreams you have to dream every day until they come true. Some of the things that I’m doing now it was only a dream maybe 16 or 15 years ago when l started to draft these things for the businesses that l am doing now. Secondly, you have to follow your passion. Do not just enter into business because everyone is getting into one but do something that you really enjoy in your life. That way you reduce the risk of it failing. Follow your heart in everything that you want to do. Thirdly, one has to be prepared for any situation. I always laugh about it and regard myself as a lucky person but the definition of lucky is when preparedness meets opportunity because everyone has an equal chance of getting those opportunities but if you are not prepared then you will become unlucky.